Collaboration May Be Key to Improving Customer Acquisition

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When Customer Service Is Marketing
Collaboration is key

It takes more than the marketing arm to pull in new customers these days. “Killer creative doesn't get the job done, you have to combine marketing and technology," said Greg Grdodian, CEO at Reach Marketing, at Direct Marketing News' Marketing&Tech Partnership Summit held January 28 in New York City.

After a month of such collaboration, finance media outlet Source Media increased subscriptions by about 1,000, 200% more than what was expected when the company partnered with Reach Marketing.

Grdodian asserts that any company can achieve similar results, but not without collaborating with tech teams. “We run into situations where marketers have great creative and they just want to go immediately,” Grdodian said. “Our approach is to plan together.”

At the same time, data is largely useless without the studied hand of marketing. “You can have all the tech in the world, but you have to implement it,” said Adam Reinebach, EVP of Marketing Solutions at Source Media.

The key to Source Media's success, and potentially other businesses', boils down to proper execution of three phases: discovery, blueprinting, and execution.

Discovery

“You have to start with accuracy. Identify active and inaccurate records, and take action,” Grdodian said.

Every database has this dead data. There's little to be gained from marketers maintaining messaging with customers that no longer interact with their brand. There's even less to gain in engaging faulty accounts founded on inaccurate information in the first place. “You want to ensure the records are accurate in your database and analyze potential traps in the database,” Grdodian said. This is nearly impossible for marketers to get right on their own, so they must collaborate with tech.

Marketers should also work with tech to enhance the firmographic records in their databases. This is the key to gaining and maintaining relevance, according to Grdodian. The marketing world continues to adopt personalization techniques. Personalization is entirely predicated on relevance. “Relevance is king,” Grdodian said. “You can't be relevant if you don't understand who your customer is. You can't personalize if you're not relevant.”

Blueprinting

As with most things, preplanning is absolutely essential for the marriage of tech and marketing to prove fruitful. This is also where the data curation during the discovery phase proves its value.

With help from tech, marketers should be able to create customer footprints from all this data; footprints that enable cloning. Cloning, according to Grdodian, enabled them to identify unique individuals both inside and outside of Source Media's customer base.

Additionally, marketers should utilize the blueprinting phase to test creative. “It's critical for marketers to test creative,” Grdodian stressed. “A campaign can do well now, but what about in six months?” 

Execution

Execution is everything. After so much planning and testing and analyzing, it's all for naught if marketing and tech cannot execute as a unit. “You went through the effort and generated clicks. Don't just throw it away. You have to finish that race,” Grdodian said.

Grdodian and Source Media's Reinebach posit that creative in this phase should be cohesive, consistent, and concise. Marketers should be sure the prose in their content is both original and SEO friendly. Note though, the two are symbiotic. “There are a jillion ways to get SEO,” said Reinebach. “If you don't have rich content your SEO will be limited. If you want SEO you have to have original content."

In Source Media's case, video was extremely effective, but many businesses mishandle video through unrealistic expectations. “From a sales perspective, it's not a numbers game,” said Reinebach. “A video about your CEO won't get two million views. But, if he's talking about business, you might get 5,000 from people that matter.”

Additionally, this phase is where relevance and personalization manifest their critical nature, but only when handled correctly. “Personalization is not, ‘Hi Greg! Hi Larry,'" said Grdodian. “It has to do with who I am, what I do, and how you can help me in my personal life.”

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